The Varna-Beloslav lake complex never became a tourist complex, as was the original intention in the distant years of socialism. Instead, the chemical industry is settling here, slowly but surely changing the beautiful landscape and unspoilt nature, and dealing with the consequences of this activity will take years.
Those living in the adjacent villages as well as in the town of Beloslav are worried about the state of the lakes, threatened by chemical industries and port activities.
What and how much pollution there is in the complex cannot be said for sure, because no in-depth comprehensive studies have been carried out to date. It is also affected by nearby chemical industries. One thing is for sure – there are no fish, only algae and reeds.
According to specialists and ecologists, there are two ways to deal with the problem – the circular economy method and mechanical cleaning. The first suggests incorporating waste materials from production into new materials, thus reducing pollution, and the second – cleaning, preferably using innovative methods.
Entrepreneur Danko Kalchev, who is a native of the area and runs his business here, stated his civic stance 10 years ago when he started looking for solutions to clean up the lake and preserve its condition.
“10 years ago, a 300 m iron pier (bridge) had to be built in a new port under construction in the lake for unloading. This would not have been useful for the Varna-Belarus lake complex, which has been declared a protected area. I objected then and alerted the institutions, and to this day it has not been built. “Kalchev begins his story and gives the example of Lake Geneva, which was heavily polluted after the end of the Second World War, but people have cleaned it up and it is now an attraction for locals and tourists. Slowly and gradually it can be achieved with a good will, of course, the businessman is adamant.
He learned a valuable lesson from two Bolivian Indians during the construction of the reed ship: ‘Keep your reeds, they are the lungs of your two lakes’.
In 2019, two Bolivian Indians from the Aymara tribe arrive in Beloslav to start the construction of a reed ship to sail the Abora series of expeditions, which are to prove that materials for the construction of the pyramids in Egypt came by sea from today’s Bulgarian lands.
Reeds keep the water frequent and should not be destroyed, most often this happens when building harbours. One is currently being completed on the territory of Beloslav. Permission has been given for a second and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is pending for a third, Kalchev has researched.
The dredging of the canal, which many view with suspicion for other reasons, has also brought benefits – it has cleared a very complex two-meter sludge left from the old proceedings of the Devny complex. It has mercury hydrolysis in it.
Unfortunately, however, there is evidence that some of it was dumped on the Nalbanka area, between the old Varna station and the village of Kazashko, next to the Kazashko protected area. The future will show the impact on the area.
However, serious problems remain – the waste water from the Solvay Soda tailings dump in Padina, the white mountains of Agropolichim and the copper waste from MTG Dolphin.
50 years ago, the lake’s “chief sanitarian”, known as the Gebijan crab, which naturally kept the water clean, disappeared. He was the main “culprit” of Beloslav Lake being in the top ten of the most ecological lakes in the world.
The first blow to its population came in 1923 after a canal was dug to connect the two lakes. Lake Beloslav was about 2.5 m. higher than Lake Varna, and nearly 2 m. of water leaked out during the digging and the crayfish were left high and dry in the reeds. Thus began the first mass die-off of the Gebedjan crayfish.
As the canal was dug, salt water entered and this, together with pollution from the chemical factories, killed them.
Now Danko Kalchev has taken up the idea of their “resurrection” – creating a crab with artificial intelligence that will start to clean up little by little.
“We are trying to develop it with different specialists, we shared it with the Minister of Innovation Milena Stoicheva. She accepted it warmly and we hope to work on it. I personally continue to look for options and EU funding for the venture,” says Kalchev
The innovation does not have to be in the form of a crab, it could be a vacuum system with suction on the principle of the robot that cleans our homes. It just needs to have the capabilities to judge what is harmful and how it can extract it from the bowels of the lake.
Another possibility to tackle the problem is to recover the waste resources – the tailings of Solvay Soda, the huge white mountains of Agropolichim and the copper waste from Dolphin – for new products. An example of such innovation is the waste output of coal-fired power plants in Germany, from the ash of which they make gypsum. This is where the largest gypsum plasterboard plants are now located.
The Varna-Beloslav Lake Complex comprises two lakes – Varna and Beloslav, connected by an artificially dug channel. Lake Varna is a coastal limestone lake of natural origin. In 1909 the first canal was dug between Lake Varna and the sea. By 1923 the first lake was opened. Lake Beloslav was a covered freshwater estuary into which the Varna River flows. The lake was a part of the lake, the lake was the water source of the lake. With the development of several industrial complexes in the area, it became necessary to use the two lakes for shipping, which led to the digging of two new canals – one connecting Lake Varna with the Black Sea and a second connecting the two lakes.
The site is an important area of international importance for wintering waterfowl. More than 20 000 waterfowl of 64 species concentrate here every year. There are 202 species of birds, 59 of which are listed in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria.